A clown with over dimensional ears, a threadlike moustache and a fierce gaze glares into the camera and the word “intermission” is shown on the screen. Applause sounds through the cinema hall and the light is switched on. It is the ending of part one of the special screening of Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par – every child is special. The movie is shown in the honor of the 20th jubilee of the cooperation of UNICEF and Audrey Hepburn and her 80th birthday as well.
The cinema is quite crowded and it is obvious that the audience is enjoying the movie. Perhaps it is better to start at the beginning like every great story – such as Taare Zameen Par – should:
The news was spread through the net on a very short notice (between the announcement and the event only seven days were left to prepare for it) that there would be a special screening of the movie at the request of Sean Hepburn-Ferrer the son of the Hollywood star and chairman of the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund. Right now a very recommendable exhibition named Timeless Audrey can be seen at Berlin central station on the occasion of her birthday and her work for UNICEF. At this exhibition one can see many pictures, clips from her movies, her awards, items from her home and even the motor bike that was part of the movie “Roman Holiday”. It is a must for fans and movie buffs since it is a piece of history, be it Hollywood or in general.
And so the special screening of this movie that fits so well to Ms. Hepburn’s engagement for children was held at the right time. In his opening words Sean Hepburn-Ferrer emphasized how much he had liked Taare Zameen Par and how much he was impressed by Aamir Khan whom he described as a very natural human being, very much unlike many Hollywood stars. Aamir Khan explained that a part of the short term announcement was due to his own vacation with his children that made him check his emails irregularly. As soon as he had read the query for his appearance in Berlin he had instantly accepted the invitation.
At his arrival on the Red Carpet he has given lots of autographs and charmed the audience with his friendliness. Mr. Hepburn-Ferrer had to do his very best to convince the audience to return to their place, but that was necessary since another program was scheduled in the cinema after the special screening. Aamir Khan and Sean Hepburn-Ferrer stayed some time with the audience to watch, then left the cinema hall to return later at the end of the movie. Who knows, perhaps Mr. Khan has been charmed by the exhibition at the central station too…
He was promptly asked at the Q & A session which had been his first movie by Audrey Hepburn and what movies he had seen at all. Roman Holiday was the movie after which he fell in love with Audrey, but also Sabrina, My Fair Lady and Wait till dark had left a deep impression. She had grown as an actress in the course of her career and that is clearly visible in these movies he claimed. Many questions came up like the one concerning his decision to do Taare Zameen Par since it had been a risky project in terms of box office success and reception by the audience. Aamir Khan pointed out – like Mr. Hepburn-Ferrer – how important it is to care about the children, that this is also a topic Indian citizens need to be sensitized for. For that cause he had to sensitize himself first: through Taare Zameen Par.
Sean Hepburn-Ferrer highlighted in his opening of the Q & A session that he had fallen in love with the movie and that doesn’t happen very often. He was also asked why this movie had been chosen for the special screening and he explained that Audrey had preferred her second career for UNICEF so much more to filming. Taare Zameen Par narrates a story about children and comes to the core that every child should have a happy childhood especially in times of Globalization. He doesn’t have a favorite scene, the movie as an organic whole is special to him.
It was an event the many fans from all parts of Germany and Europe loved very much. They were visibly nervous to meet their idol and getting the possibility to ask him something. Aamir Khan was very attentive towards everyone, answered every question and even could be persuaded to sing to the title song of Taare Zameen Par. But after some time Sean Hepburn-Ferrer had to intervene and end the Q & A session due to the following program in the cinema hall. So there wasn’t time left for further autographs when Aamir Khan and Sean Hepburn-Ferrer left the hall through a side entrance.
Taare Zameen Par is a worthwile movie about a child that doesn’t fit into a norm and almost falls through the pattern of the Indian education system. This is a topic that every nation affects and makes this movie so up-to-date – not only for India but the whole world.